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Czech-language online hoax alleging Prague terrorist attack now spreading among Slovaks and stealing Facebook passwords

7.8.2016 11:28
A Czech-language hoax alleging that a terrorist attack had happened in Prague made the rounds online in July 2016 using this image.
A Czech-language hoax alleging that a terrorist attack had happened in Prague made the rounds online in July 2016 using this image.

A fake news item has begun to spread in Slovakia among users of the Facebook social networking site alleging that a terrorist attack has taken place in Prague. Its actual purpose is to access the login data to people's Facebook accounts.

The disinformation was first spread among Czech-language Facebook users. Thousands of Czech and Slovak Internet users have already fallen victim to the hack.

Those targeted by the fraud see a fake news item on their Facebook walls falsely alleging that a terrorist attack has occurred in Prague and cost the lives of either 187 or 273 people. The piece includes a photograph purporting to depict the Prague crime scene, but is actually a photograph from one of two actual terrorist attacks, one an image from the recent attack in the southern French town of Nice, the other an image from Baghdad in 2010.

"If the victim clicks on the link, what opens is not a news article, but a fake version of their login page to Facebook. When the victim inputs his or her login data, it is sent to the hacker and the victim loses control over his or her Facebook account, which spreads the fraud further," computer expert Lukáš Štefanko said.

Josef Džubák, who runs news server hoax.cz, recently explained this fraudulent practice to the monthly Romano voďi. "This is so-called 'phishing', or an effort to tempt the Internet user to provide personal information - birthdate, bank account number, or access codes - for the purposes of exploiting them," he said.

The hoax.cz administrator recommends making sure you are adequately vigilant about online contact with strangers. He admits that almost anybody can be taken in online, but the basic approach should be to verify dubious information instead of disseminating it blindly. 

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Facebook, Hoax, manipulace, terrorism



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